Hope Beyond the Current Struggle: How Female African American Healthcare Leaders Cope with Discrimination in the Workplace

Jennifer Marie Bailey-Jackson, University of Pennsylvania


Leadership is a sacred stewardship. Women leaders bring collaboration to this stewardship, and African American women leaders bring a certain savoir faire to their hallowed leadership responsibilities. However, research is needed to appreciate the unique stresses that female African American leaders experience in their leadership roles. Stress is harmful to overall health, well-being, and leadership effectiveness. This dissertation investigated the distinctive stresses and coping resources that empower African American women to manage individual discrimination, gendered racial discrimination, institutional racism, and encounters with white privilege in the workplace. This dissertation also investigated if hope, separate from religion and spirituality, is a coping resource that these leaders use to protect themselves in sexist and racist contaminated work environments. This research study utilized a qualitative phenomenological research design with a narrative methodology, interviewing 20 female African American senior and executive healthcare leaders to understand how they described their experiences with discrimination at work. The results revealed that African American female healthcare leaders encountered daily multilayered discrimination at work. The results also revealed that the participants engaged in coping resources daily to manage their emotions, work relationships and work environments to successfully navigate working in White space. The participants in the study specifically depended on the coping toolset of faith, punctuated with hope to circumnavigate their toxic work environments.

Subject Area

African American Studies|Health care management|Cultural Resources Management|Spirituality|Womens studies|Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

Bailey-Jackson, Jennifer Marie, "Hope Beyond the Current Struggle: How Female African American Healthcare Leaders Cope with Discrimination in the Workplace" (2021). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI28647151.